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Former President Bush's daughter at Book Faire

Dorothy Bush says book about father brought them closer together

Dorothy Bush says book about father brought them closer together

November 04, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. ? Writing a personal account of her father's life wasn't her idea, but President George H.W. Bush's youngest child told a crowd gathered Saturday for the West Virginia authors' literacy benefit dinner that working with her father on the book was the "greatest joy" in her life.

"The things he couldn't remember, my mom could remember," said Dorothy "Doro" Bush Koch, who said she penned "My Father, My President: A Personal Account of the Life of George H.W. Bush" with "a lot of help" in a little less than a year.

"It's a wonder there are so many books out there," Koch said. "I discovered writing a book is very hard work."

Koch credited an administrative assistant to the 41st president for suggesting the idea, which was spurred along by the staffer's compilation of 500 boxes of files that contained details of her father's personal phone calls and other unofficial business.

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"Neither of us knew that she had done this," Koch said.

When her father suggested she write the book instead of him, Koch said she "panicked" because she didn't know what she was doing.

Her father, the first modern president not to write a book about his life, probably opted not to embark on the project because one of his mother's "basic lessons" of life was "don't brag on yourself," she said.

Koch also said her father also was "too busy" to jump out of airplanes and hang out with his new friend, Bill Clinton.

Clinton, by accident, was her first interview for the book, Koch said.

Koch said Clinton recalled her father's controversial support of civil rights legislation as a young Republican congressman from Texas while his successor was enrolled at Georgetown University in Washington.

"Honestly, they have a genuine friendship," Koch said of her father and Clinton's collaboration to raise support for the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004.

"It's almost a father-son relationship ... which almost gives me a brother from another mother," Koch said, prompting laughter from the crowd.

Though she is proud her father served as president, Koch said she is more proud of the "man he is" before recounting Bush's lengthy service in the military, politics and elected office.

"He wouldn't tell you he was a World War II hero," Koch said of her father's survival after the torpedo bomber he was flying was shot down by the Japanese.

Growing up, Koch said being in the public eye had its downside and criticism always was difficult to handle, but she also said it was a real privilege to see history in the making from the front row.

Now, Koch said, her father is the one who agonizes over the criticisms that his son receives as president.

"It's brought us closer together," Koch said. "We support each other."

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